Sunday, November 17, 2013


Rejection after rejection filled my mail box as I sought a contract for my non-fiction proposals. I must admit, I actually felt a bit superior to fiction writers. They were just writing stories. I was writing biblical truth - ahem, ahem. Then after attending a fiction class at the Glorieta Christian Writers Conference and realizing powerful truth can be conveyed perhaps in a more palatable manner through stories--as Jesus did--I began to rethink my opinions. 

It was about that time I stumbled across a published genealogy of my ancestors who were French Huguenots (followers of John Calvin) who fled the Catholic persecution in 17th century France. The book is a leather-bound original edition published in 1907. An elderly aunt had given me the book years before, but I'd only briefly glanced through it. As I read through it, I found it not only contained the official genealogy of our family on my mother's side, but there were stories and personal accounts of their journey. What a treasure! I wanted to tell the story of how my ancestors lived through this volatile period of history, and I decided to do it in the historical fiction genre. It was my favorite genre to read growing up, so it was a natural move.

I poured over the pages and gleaned what I could to build a story around their journey. Most of the material was about how they settled in Pennsylvania, which ends up as the third book in the series, but I wanted to write some of the Huguenot history in France, the atrocities they endured and the strong faith which emerged as a result of the persecution. My editor at Thomas Nelson suggested we go back 50 years earlier to incorporate the colorful character of Louis XIV, which is what I did in the first book in the series, "In The Shadow of the Sun King." 

I ran across the story of a romance the powerful king experienced as a young man with a Huguenot girl and wove it around the heroine, my ancestor, Louisa Clavell. However, I gave her the name, Madeleine, in the book. Louis and Louisa would have been way too confusing.

In the early part of his reign, Louis employed many Huguenots, French Protestants, in his Catholic governmental council, because they had a reputation of being honest and trustworthy. He fell in love with the daughter of one of his Huguenot advisors and wanted to marry her, but was prevented from doing so by the Catholic influence of his family. Legend has it she was the love of his life, and he never got over her.

And so it goes ... historical fiction. Isn't it fun?!

I'm offering a copy of "In The Shadow Of The Sun King" to one who leaves a comment chosen at random. Tell me what you know about your ancestors. Perhaps there is a novel waiting to be written!

Golden Keyes Parsons writes historical fiction, and is also a popular retreat/conference speaker. Her highly acclaimed Darkness to Light Series (Thomas Nelson Publishing) chronicled the journey of her French Huguenot ancestors in 17th century France. Her fourth novel, His Steadfast Love, is a Civil War novel set in Texas. Her latest releases are ebooks (WhiteFire Publishing) – a biblical fiction series entitled Hidden Faces, Portraits of Nameless Women in the Gospels. 

Golden lives in Waco, TX, with her husband, Blaine, where they enjoy their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and are avid sports fan of their alma mater, Baylor University. You can contact her at and


  1. Although I have never attempted to trace my own genealogy, I have it on good authority that I have married into the lineage of Charlemagne. My mother-in-law was VERY interested in these pursuits, and had done much research into her family tree, before she passed away.

  2. Thanks to my husband who has traced his ancestors back to the 16th century he helped me trace mine back almost as far. When my Irish ancestors immigrated here in the 1800s two brothers headed out to the '49 gold rush. One fell ill and stayed behind to recover. When he was well enough to join his brother in California he never found him. And that brother was never heard from again. There are family letters written between the family in Illinois and Ireland. My family always thought that adventure would make a great story.
    Cindy Huff

  3. Sounds like you all have kernels of some juicy stories. Even if you write them only for your own families, it is an adventure and something that will be treasured through the years. Thanks for joining in!

  4. Golden, My mother told me of her great-grandmother who came over from Scotland on a ship when she was only one. They landed in New Orleans, but that's all I know about them. On my dad's side, one of my cousins traced our genealogy back to the 1400s. It's fascinating to see all the different countries they came from.

    Welcome to CFHS!

  5. Golden, How Blessed you are to have all that family history recorded!
    My great great grandparents came from Wexford Ireland and settled in Wilkes Barre Pa.
    My other grandparents had some Cherokee Indian and Scottish roots.
    I don't really know any of the history or dates.

  6. There really are wonderful stories in all family histories, but so many have been lost because they were not recorded. An important reminder how important it is to journal about our heritage.

  7. My ancestors are from N. Ireland and most of them still live there. Some have migrated to Canada and the US. I have lots of Irish mementoes from them. sharon, ca wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

  8. I wish I knew more about my ancestors than I do. What I know about my father's side of the family stops at my grandparents. I know more on my mother's side but not much. Two brothers from England came over and fell in love with two Cherokee Indian sisters and so begins my family line! I've really been wanting to read your Darkness to Light series for a while now and would love a chance to win In the Shadow of the Sun King!
    kam110476 (at) gmail (dot) com

  9. It's so cool that you found that information on your ancestors and used some of that to write your books. The story of the Huguenots is a powerful one. This past year I read the Silk House Series by Linda Chaikin on the same topic--very fascinating.

    The most well-known story in my family is of my great, great-grandfather--he fled to the US in 1883 after being conscripted into Germany's army. He brought all of his possessions in a small trunk, including a tablecloth his mother gave him to present to his future wife (the trunk sits in a local museum). He eventually settled in Lewis County, NY, and 12 years later was ordained a minister in the local Amish-Mennonite church. The following year he was chosen as bishop and served in that capacity until his death in 1953, outliving two other, younger bishops originally chosen as his successors. Christian's son Joseph, born in 1898, became a deacon in the church c. 1940 and served in that capacity until his death in 2001 at age 102.

    I don't know if you've chosen a winner yet, but I would love to be entered for a chance to win your book and see how you took your family's history and used it to write your novels!

  10. Golden, what a treasure! I too descended from French Huguenots who eventually migrated from Canada to Pennsylvania where I grew up. Even as a child, I loved hearing the front porch stories and dinner table history lessons. We are so blessed to have these chronicled! Looking forward to reading about your family history, while possibly learning more of my own!

  11. Congratulations to Julia Toto! You are the winner of a signed copy of "In the Shadow of the Sun King!" Email me at with your snail mail address, & I will get it in the mail to you asap. Thank you for participating and happy reading!